Here’s a book to make best friends with—but be careful on those sleepovers.

READ REVIEW

MY BEST FRIEND

An owl and a mouse are really close friends—kind of.

Mouse and Giant Owl have lived together ever since Giant Owl caught Mouse—er, brought Mouse to the tree, where Giant Owl is generous with the doughnuts. The thing is, while Mouse appreciates the friendship, some alone time would occasionally be nice, yet Giant Owl seems always to be around. Mouse reasons this is “because Giant Owl loves me so much.” It must be why Giant Owl gives great birthday gifts like a house (read: cage) equipped with its own lock, whose key Giant Owl carefully holds onto. Then, after a sleepover, Mouse wakes up in an unidentifiable, dark, round space. Giant Owl’s nowhere to be seen—by Mouse, that is. However, hilarious illustrations show readers exactly where Giant Owl is and what’s going on. Giant Owl’s on a branch, battling severe dyspepsia and making wretched gastrointestinal noises before letting out an otherworldly belch (printed in oversized type that takes up a page). As a result, Mouse blasts out of Giant Owl’s roiling innards and, still clueless, thanks Giant Owl for the rescue. This riotous tale is truly a hoot, owl or no. The wittily dry narration, simply expressed in Mouse’s sweetly naïve voice, is comically adorable, and the colorful, very expressive mixed-media illustrations serve the rollicking shenanigans perfectly.

Here’s a book to make best friends with—but be careful on those sleepovers. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: May 5, 2020

ISBN: 978-0-7112-4834-2

Page Count: 32

Publisher: Frances Lincoln

Review Posted Online: Jan. 21, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles.

THE DINKY DONKEY

Even more alliterative hanky-panky from the creators of The Wonky Donkey (2010).

Operating on the principle (valid, here) that anything worth doing is worth overdoing, Smith and Cowley give their wildly popular Wonky Donkey a daughter—who, being “cute and small,” was a “dinky donkey”; having “beautiful long eyelashes” she was in consequence a “blinky dinky donkey”; and so on…and on…and on until the cumulative chorus sails past silly and ludicrous to irresistibly hysterical: “She was a stinky funky plinky-plonky winky-tinky,” etc. The repeating “Hee Haw!” chorus hardly suggests what any audience’s escalating response will be. In the illustrations the daughter sports her parent’s big, shiny eyes and winsome grin while posing in a multicolored mohawk next to a rustic boombox (“She was a punky blinky”), painting her hooves pink, crossing her rear legs to signal a need to pee (“winky-tinky inky-pinky”), demonstrating her smelliness with the help of a histrionic hummingbird, and finally cozying up to her proud, evidently single parent (there’s no sign of another) for a closing cuddle.

Should be packaged with an oxygen supply, as it will incontestably elicit uncontrollable gales of giggles. (Picture book. 4-6)

Pub Date: Nov. 5, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-338-60083-4

Page Count: 24

Publisher: Scholastic

Review Posted Online: Oct. 13, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2019

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A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends.

GOOD NIGHT, LITTLE BLUE TRUCK

Is it a stormy-night scare or a bedtime book? Both!

Little Blue Truck and his good friend Toad are heading home when a storm lets loose. Before long, their familiar, now very nervous barnyard friends (Goat, Hen, Goose, Cow, Duck, and Pig) squeeze into the garage. Blue explains that “clouds bump and tumble in the sky, / but here inside we’re warm and dry, / and all the thirsty plants below / will get a drink to help them grow!” The friends begin to relax. “Duck said, loud as he could quack it, / ‘THUNDER’S JUST A NOISY RACKET!’ ” In the quiet after the storm, the barnyard friends are sleepy, but the garage is not their home. “ ‘Beep!’ said Blue. ‘Just hop inside. / All aboard for the bedtime ride!’ ” Young readers will settle down for their own bedtimes as Blue and Toad drop each friend at home and bid them a good night before returning to the garage and their own beds. “Blue gave one small sleepy ‘Beep.’ / Then Little Blue Truck fell fast asleep.” Joseph’s rich nighttime-blue illustrations (done “in the style of [series co-creator] Jill McElmurry”) highlight the power of the storm and capture the still serenity that follows. Little Blue Truck has been chugging along since 2008, but there seems to be plenty of gas left in the tank.

A sweet reminder that it’s easy to weather a storm with the company and kindness of friends. (Picture book. 3-6)

Pub Date: Oct. 22, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-328-85213-7

Page Count: 32

Publisher: HMH Books

Review Posted Online: June 23, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2019

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